Supporters of Pervez Musharraf protest against the death penalty given to him in Islamabad on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa did not issue any directions to the special court other than judicial directions given by the relevant branches of the Supreme Court registry in Pervez Musharraf high treason case, stated the apex court, on Tuesday.
It clarified that some reports published in newspapers and aired on different TV channels about a meeting of the chief justice with the Press Association of the Supreme Court of Pakistan were misleading and had not attributed any sources to the reports.
“Musharraf’s was an open-and-shut case and he was given multiple opportunities to defend himself. These people wanted to prolong the matter. The case was decided despite attempts to delay it,” some media outlets had quoted the chief justice as saying in the alleged informal meeting.
The apex court said that the news reports had created the impression that the chief justice was “personally involved in the progress of the case before the Special Court.”
The report clarified that different branches of the Supreme Court had been hearing different aspects of the high treason case against Musharraf.
“These items aired/published by the media were baseless, concocted, false, stage managed, out of context and contrary to the facts,” read the court statement.
The clarification comes a day after a special court handed Musharraf the death penalty for abrogating the constitution and imposing a state of emergency on Nov.3, 2007.
Musharraf, 76, is currently in Dubai where he is seeking treatment of multiple diseases.
The Pakistan Army had reacted to the decision by saying that it was in “a lot of pain and anguish” over the sentencing to death of former military Musharraf.
“An ex-army chief, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and President of Pakistan, who has served the country for over 40 years, fought wars for the defence of the country can surely never be a traitor,” the military’s public relations wing said in a statement.
The opposition parties, meanwhile, have welcomed the verdict on Musharraf, saying the decision would ensure supremacy of the Constitution and strengthen democracy.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal termed the judgment historic. “Now we hope that the tradition of playing havoc with Constitution will come to an end.”
He said that had such decision taken 50 years back, Pakistan could have averted martial laws. “Had the decision given 50 years back, the tragedy of fall of Dhaka would not have happened,” he said.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal declared the decision against Musharraf as historic and tweeted that “democracy is the best revenge”. He thus repeated his mother ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s quote with her photo.
National Party President Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo hailed the verdict and said it is really unprecedented that a retired general has been convicted, better late than never, it is.
PPP parliamentary leader of in the Senate Sherry Rehman said the abrogation of the Constitution is a crime against the State. “It’s our stance that the abrogation of the Constitution should not take place as it takes the country to reverse position.”
She said when the courts take notice on abrogation of Constitution then why the questions are raised.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq said the special court ruling would ensure supremacy of Constitution and strengthen democracy in Pakistan. “Indeed it is great decision in 72 years history of Pakistan. The verdict will have far reaching impact on the future politics of Pakistan.”
He added that the verdict would strengthen the people’s trust on Pakistan’s judicial system.
He demanded the government to make arrangements to bring the former dictator back to Pakistan. He also called for holding accountable those who had allowed Musharraf to go abroad.
Haq said crimes of Musharraf were countless and one of the biggest was that he threw the country into an endless war on American pressure. He said the former dictator destroyed democracy and made attack on ideology of the country.
On Tuesday the court said it wouldn't "indulge in the matter of state policy or foreign policy" in making a decision. "Our concern is the legality of the ruling of the speaker," said Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.
Former cricket star Khan lost his parliamentary majority last week and had been facing a no-confidence vote tabled by a united opposition that he was expected to lose on Sunday.
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